Sheila Pirie never thought she would walk again after a spinal abscess damaged her nerves and left her with no feeling below the waist. When the 73-year-old arrived at Balhousie care home in Coupar Angus, Perthshire, in August last year she was in a wheelchair and needed a full-body hoist to lift her in and out of bed.
But after eight months of gruelling physiotherapy the former bank clerk is back on her feet and taking part in a virtual walk from Scotland to Australia, measured on a pedometer.
Mrs Pirie, from Alyth, said: “It was very hard work but I must admit now it was worth it.”
Her ordeal began when she was admitted to Ninewells Hospital in Dundee shortly before Christmas in 2016 suffering pains which turned out to be caused by a giant gallstone.
The widowed mother-of-four, who also has nine grandchildren and two great-grandsons, underwent surgery in an attempt to remove it but she collapsed in theatre and ended up in intensive care.
Once she had recovered, doctors tried to blast the gallstone using ultrasound waves but the procedure was unsuccessful.